There are numerous issues that must be addressed in any divorce proceeding. One of the biggest is child custody. Even though courts in different states might vary in a few minor ways, every court is going to have the best interests of the child at heart. The interests and needs of the child (or children) will always be placed above the desires of the parent. There are two major choices when it comes to child custody. The first is sole custody (or full custody) and the second is joint custody. Joint custody means joint legal and joint physical custody. If parents are awarded joint child custody, there are a few key points this entails.
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What Is Joint Child Custody?
If parents are awarded joint custody, both parents are going to split the physical custody of the child. The courts may decide to award joint legal custody as well. As a whole, the parents are going to be responsible for sharing parental duties and time with the child.
If the parents share legal child custody, then they have to agree on all major decisions. This includes medical care, education, and other major life choices. If the parents are unable to agree, then the issues could be taken to the courts, which can become tedious. It is also possible for the court system to award joint physical custody while giving legal custody to one parent.
There are a few reasons why the courts might favor a joint custody arrangement; however, the biggest reason is that the court believes it is in the best interests of the child to have both parents present in that child’s life.
At the same time, there could be some limitations when it comes to joint physical custody. Some of the issues that might impact how the joint child custody arrangement is drawn up include:
- The parents live a long way from each other geographically and regular travel would be severely disruptive to the child’s life
- A joint child custody arrangement would adversely impact the child’s education
- The child is old enough to demonstrate the mental capacity to state his or her preference
- There is not a feasible way to split time with each parent
Of note, joint physical custody and shared custody are often used interchangeably; however, shared custody is usually used to describe an arrangement where the child alternates weeks with each parent. In a joint custody arrangement, one parent usually ends up spending more time with the child.
Rely on an Experienced Utah Child Custody Lawyer
Attorney David Pedrazas has been practicing divorce and family law in the state of Utah for more than 20 years. He leverages all of his experience to vigorously defend the rights of his clients. He has been recognized as one of the top lawyers in the state of Utah by the National Academy of Family Law Association as well as the American Institute of Family Law. If you are looking for a child custody lawyer who will fight for the rights of you and your child, contact us today! We would be honored to assist you.